June 8, 2029 — New York gangland legend Nicky Barnes died seven years ago and it was just revealed this weekend by The New York Times. The storied and famously dapper drug kingpin ran the Harlem heroin trade in the 1970s, heading a consortium of African-American crime bosses known as, “The Council.” Barnes succumbed to cancer in 2012 at 78 years old per a Times interview with members of the Barnes family published Saturday.

The “paper of record” and the flashy black mob don go way back:

At the height of his power in 1977, Barnes graced the cover of The New York Times Magazine in a finely-tailored double-breasted designer denim suit and a red, white and blue tie with a headline reading “Mr. Untouchable.” The audacious nature of the cover shoot and accompanying profile piece drew the ire of the Feds and President Jimmy Carter, who reportedly called the Justice Department once he read the article and demanded an escalation of resources put towards bringing Barnes down for good. Less than a year later, he was indicted for narcotics and racketeering.

Following a guilty verdict and feeling betrayed by his lieutenants on The Council, Barnes stunned the New York underworld and became a witness for the government. With Barnes’ help, U.S. prosecutors dismantled the drug world ruling body he himself conceived and constructed.

While serving time in prison in the 1960s, Barnes forged ties to juiced-in Italian mobsters like “Crazy Joey” Gallo of the Colombo crime family and Matty Madonna of the Luchese clan. Gallo acted as an advisor to Barnes as he implemented a mafia-like business structure in the Harlem drug racket he ran upon his release. Madonna was his main supplier.

Quietly leaving prison in the summer of 1998, Barnes was given a new identity. A decade later, he penned a book titled Mr. Untouchable that was released in 2007. A well-received documentary based on the book followed.

Barnes’ protege and successor as top dog of The Council, Guy Fisher remains behind bars. Fisher began romancing one of Barnes’ girlfriends once Barnes was locked up, eventually leading to Barnes cutting a cooperation deal. The woman at the center of the love triangle was slain in December 1982.

Oscar winner Cuba Gooding, Jr. gave a cartoonish portrayal of Barnes in the film 2007 American Gangster about his Harlem heroin chief counterpart Frank Lucas played by Denzel Washington. Lucas, also a cooperator, passed away last week at 87.

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